Many recreational players struggle with
the high forehand and that is for good reason. It is a complex shot and its
proper execution will have to depend on various factors. Let’s start off with what you should not
do when hitting a high forehand and you should never take the ball off the
bounce in this area. Taking the ball off the bounce is a good strategy in some
circumstances, so when the ball is taken off the bounce its usually hit below the
knee level in this area and if the ball has a lot of penetration, a lot of speed
then it’s okay to just take it off the bounce because you can work with the
pace of the incoming ball and when we take balls off the bounce we need the
pace of the incoming ball and we’re just basically going to block the ball back,
we’re going to bunt it, we’re not gonna be able to take a full swing. You can
think of it almost as a half volley. It’s pretty much the same mechanics behind
the shot. We don’t have a lot of pace on a high ball most of the time so when we
try to take it off the bounce, we’re gonna have to have a shorter swing and
we’re not gonna be able to get a lot of power on a shot like that. Ideally if you
were going to take the ball off the bounce the ball needs to have a low
trajectory and it has to have pace. So a high ball will after the bounce go
very high so if you try to take it right off the bounce
you are very frequently going to miss hit the ball. Another thing that you shouldn’t do is
let the ball come up and then let it come down too low because that ball is
going to push you too far back and it’s gonna lose so much pace that you’re
gonna have a very difficult time generating power. If you allowed the high
ball to come down too low and often if the ball has a little bit of penetration
it’s also going to push you backwards so as you are waiting for the ball to drop
you’re going to be moving backwards and then it’s going to be very difficult to
find your balance. To understand how to handle the high
forehand we have to take a look at the flight path of a high ball so the ball
is going to bounce and it’s gonna go high usually above our head and then
eventually, it’s gonna come back down.So where we can strike the ball is on its
way up from the bounce and when it goes through about the chest height this is
one way to hit it or we can wait for the ball to come up and then before it gets
down below the chest area we can also hit it on the way down. So those are your
two options when it comes to the high ball. At the high level the high balls
usually come with a lot of penetration and in those cases these balls have to
be taken on the rise so when that high ball is going up you don’t want to let
it come up above your head and back down because the penetration of the high ball
is gonna push you too far back and you will not be able to hit the ball
aggressively. So in those circumstances those balls need to be taken on the rise
about the chest area. However at the recreational level often
these type of high balls do not have a lot of penetration and taking the ball
on the rise requires great timing and it is much easier to let the ball come up
and then down and then you take it at the chest area when the ball is on the
way down. The swing path on the high forehand will
depend on various factors. Some professional players will drop the
racket into their regular racket drop and then from here they will go up
towards the high ball and then finish straight across. Other players will
adjust their take back towards the height of the ball so they will take the
racket up a little bit higher and then come straight across the ball like this.
For the average player is a lot easier to adjust the take back to the height of
the ball so let’s say for example you get a low ball you can drop the racket
down a little bit lower, you get your normal forehand you drop it down as you
always do and then when you get a high forehand you adjust the take back to go
a little bit higher before you hit across. It’s important to use the body properly
on the high forehand because the incoming ball usually does not have a
lot of penetration and it’s losing speed rapidly so we have to utilize our body
to generate the power and the way you’re going to do this is, you’re going to make
contact chest height and then you’re gonna hit across and you’re simply going
to shift your weight from your dominant side to the non-dominant side. So in my
case I’m a right-hander I’m going to go right to left and if you really rip the
ball hard you will actually leave the ground with your feet you’re gonna
become airborne and you’re gonna land on your non-dominant foot. In some instances, the high forehand can
also, be hit with a more downward swing path. So if you are very close to the net
if you’re hitting the ball chest height you can hit it down but this will depend
on various factors, your height, it will depend how far exactly you are away from the
net so you’re gonna have to figure out if this works. The safer bet is to always
finish a straight across this way. Another option you have if the ball
doesn’t have a lot of depth let’s say if it’s going to bounce around the service
line you can take it as a swing volley. The swing volleys are very tricky shots
because in a real match they have to be taken while the player is in transition
moving forward and that makes them a little bit more difficult to execute. If
you do stationary swing volleys they’re quite easy to handle, and the swing
volley is going to be hit the same way as a high forehand. You’re going to make
contact about chest height and then you’re gonna swing straight across the
body like this. Your footwork and your rhythm are
possibly the most important things when executing a high forehand and this is
where I see the most mistakes at the recreational level. So what you have to
do is move your feet with a lot of intensity as the high ball is
approaching a lot of players will get stationary and once the ball bounces
it’s completely out of their reach and it’s too late for them to make
any adjustment. So this is what you’ll have to do, the high ball will come and
now you’re going to start moving and this might actually be stationary you
might not be moving around too much but you’ve got to keep your feet moving
because you never quite know how this high ball is going to react off the bounce.
If you’re playing on hardcourt I want to hear those shoes squeak when you’re
setting up. That is a good sign that you’re moving your feet and if you do
that you’re going to be setting up the high ball just fine. And now once you
feel like you’re set in the right place you’re gonna have to load and unload in
a very rhythmic way. It’s almost like a dance so you’re gonna load and then
unload like this, you’re going to load and unload like this and this has to
happen right before you strike the ball. Make sure you practice the footwork and
the rhythm on the high forehand. It is a little bit tricky to get the loading the
unloading timed correctly but once you get the hang of it you’re going to be
hitting your high forehands much better. Make sure you practice the footwork and
the rhythm on the high forehand. It is a little bit tricky to get the loading the
unloading timed correctly but once you get the hang of it you’re going to be
hitting your high forehands much better.

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Dennis Veasley

11 thoughts on “How to Hit a High Forehand | Forehand Tennis Lesson”

  1. Great lesson! I usually wait for the ball to come down before I hit leading me to crash into the fence many times! ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. For sure this is the best tennis channel online. Great video, but one part is not very clear to me. When you say to "hit across", you would still drop the racquet under the ball a little bit?
    Thanks and again great lesson

  3. hi Nick, thanks for the video. I also watched this vid about high forehands from raquetflex https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBI–xrv8lc&list=PLs_bUxAZUouMD-LuKRu25FVjLum9dwVTl&index=96&t=0s
    what do you think about the tilting shoulder technique that was mentioned?

  4. Good video, these high loopy moonballs to the baseline are the most annoying for me.

    I handle shorter ones great with swing volleys and crush them easily.
    Also deep heavy spin shots are no problem because the ball has alot of action and penetration.

    But these extremely slow very high loopy moonballs to the baseline are annoying, im not used to them and rarely play against them, and then I struggle with them.. I mean getting the ball into play is not a problem but being very aggressive on these balls is hard.. and then if ur opponent keeps doing it over and over it gets boring, specially for a first strike aggressive shotmaker that I am and don't really like grinding long points over and over.

    Its also so easy underestimating the ball because its so slow and then the footwork becomes sloppy and extremely easy to misshit the ball.

  5. Remember to move your feet with a lot of intensity when setting up for a high forehand. Do not set your feet too early and become stationary. You never know how the ball is going to react off the bounce. ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’ช

  6. Hello Nicola. Great instructional video. You are a highly qualified professional. Very few people explain what to perform special strikes in non-standard situations. For example: when there is little time for swinging. When you run forward. When running out of the sideline, if the opponent has made a side blow. How the legs move: when the knees are straightened, when the knees are bent at the moment of impact and after impact. When to move to the front of the foot, when through the heel. How quickly to take a position after the strike, which movements are better for each situation. Good luck to you and a friendly handshake from faraway Russia. Victor

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